Lonely, I’m So Lonely, I Have Anxiety, So I’m Not Alone.

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Today, I ended up being just like that kid sitting all alone in the corner of the party.

You see, I won’t skate anymore. I fell 8 months ago, or so, and got a bad concussion. It wasn’t my first concussion on skates. I’m not stable enough and my weight plays a large part in that.

I can’t risk knocking my head around again this soon. It takes the brain a really long time to fully heal.

Besides that, I just want to be smaller and stronger the next time I get up on 8 wheels.

Anyway, this made me just like that kid sitting all alone in the corner of the party.

There were other people at the party that didn’t skate, but they weren’t there from derby, and they seemed to know other people at the party.

The only people that I knew at the party were from derby, and all of the derby people, including Wonder Woman, were skating the whole time.

At least Wonder Woman skated up to the wall to say hi to me every once in awhile.

But I was still just like that kid sitting all alone in the corner of the party.

I couldn’t bring myself to walk up to one of the groups of people I didn’t know. And by the end, when derby people started taking breaks, I was so wrapped up in my own anxiety that I couldn’t even walk over to talk to them.

I had started to feel like I was back in grade school. Always on the outside of the crowd. Always left out. Always alone except for the thoughts in my head that wouldn’t shut up.

I convinced myself they didn’t want me around.

I decided I was just like that kid sitting all alone in the corner of the party.

Oh no . . . That’s today.

scientific calculator ii

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Mentally, I still feel like shit.

But a little less like shit then I felt yesterday, so that’s a plus, I guess.

The difference between, I really want to die

and

I just don’t want to live.

And for those who have never been here, there’s a distinctive difference.

Today is a good day for that difference, because today I have a final exam to go take for my health class.

A final exam that I may not have shown up for yesterday, but today I’ll at least show up.

I all but aced my English class.  Two points shy of a perfect score.  I’m still waiting on a few grades to come back from health, but I think I’ll pull at least a b, depends on how I do on this final that I didn’t study for.

Yesterday was rough. I spent most of the day in bed with covers over my head. I got up to cook but didn’t clean and my sink is overflowing with dishes.

We had dill pickle chicken wings for dinner which were both amazing and time consuming. Even though I baked them, my house smells like fried food, which is kind of annoying.

When I’m depressed like that I’m also super triggery, although I hate the word trigger. But the wrong sound from a video game or the wrong scene in a movie will go straight through me and I’ll need to run and hide, or I’ll want to fight back against it. But I can’t find my words to ask Wonder Woman to turn the TV down or that I can’t handle that movie right now. Sometimes I’ll put headphones in so that I’m not a bother, so that I can just zone out into my own world at the computer.

Other times I run away to the bedroom, into my safe space. Under my down comforter with the covers pulled up over my head. Just enough light filters through that it’s not completely dark in there. The sound is muffled like when there’s a few feet of snow outside.

I feel safe.

I always quietly hope that Wonder Woman will eventually come and check on me even if I can’t quite tell her all of what is wrong.

She is part of my safe space.

I also hate that I just walk away without telling her that I’m going. Words are hard when I feel like that. I want to shrink into my own skin.

I don’t want to admit that I need to hide from the world and speaking it out loud makes it too real.

Makes it too noticeable.

Makes me feel like I’m over reacting.

Like I’m being a drama queen.

But today is better. Today the sounds aren’t quite as loud and I don’t need to run.

Today I don’t want to die.

I’m just not quite sure I’m ready to live.

No More Nomad

This is a Really Real Life Post.

I’ve been in this apartment for 5 years today.

Five years.

That might not seem like much to most people, but for most of my adult life I’ve moved every 6 to 9 months.

That means in the time I’ve lived here, we probably would have lived in 6 to 10 places.

How did I live like that?

I’m in a tiny little two bedroom apartment in a shit smelling, shitty neighborhood and honestly, I fucking love it here because the one thing this apartment has given me is stability in the middle of chaos.  I honestly feel like this place is home and I have no interest in giving that up.

I don’t have to constantly wonder how long I need to save these boxes because when is the next time I’m going to pack it all up and go.

Part of it was me, I always wanted something different, I couldn’t settle down.  Mostly though, it was that we couldn’t pay our bills and breaking our lease was better then being evicted.

Five years.

That seems like forever.

Five years ago I was a wife to a woman who is now dead.

Five years ago my kid still looked like a kid instead of the grown man he is now.

Five years ago I was sick and hopeless but also proud of ourselves for finally getting back into our own place after being homeless for so long.

Five years ago I had finally gotten approved for disability after fighting for almost 5 years.

I remember, after Parker died, when I went through my short period of just wanting out of this apartment, Kidlet asked that we stay here and not move again.  He was right.  I’m glad we stayed.

Five years of housing stability is a really big deal to someone who was never able to stay put.

I love my tiny two bedroom.  I’m glad it’s still home.  I’m glad Wonder Woman moved in here instead of us going somewhere else.  I’m glad we’ve made it our home together.

It fits.

Five years is a whole lot of memories in one apartment.

 

 

P!nk

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

But also a Really Real Music Post.

P!nk released a new album recently.  I’m not exactly sure when, it just kind of showed up on my Spotify one day and I’ve had it on repeat ever since.

Every time I think I find a favorite song on the album, I catch the lyrics from another one and realize that one is now a favorite.

Really, 90% of the album just speaks to my soul.

The album is called Hurts 2B Human.

The title track has this verse.

“You make it sound so pretty even when it’s not
Didn’t choose, but it’s the only one we’ve got
And sometimes, I get so tired of getting tied up in my thoughts
You’re the only one that ever makes it stop”

And while I don’t believe Wonder Woman is the only person that can help me out of my own thoughts, it sure does help having her by my side.

Another song makes me remember that as open and vulnerable as I am, there is still so much I hide, even from those who are closest to me.

“And I swear, not tryna be vindictive
I’m just terrified that you might see me different
You’ll change your mind, tell me that I’m crazy
Tell me that I’m okay, tell me that you’ll stay”

“Happy” and “Courage” talk directly about mental health and the struggle to grow and get healthy.

How many of us can relate to this?

“Since I was 17
I’ve always hated my body
And it feels like my body’s hated me
Can somebody find me a pill to make me un-afraid of me?”

How many of us want to be happy, want to heal from our own trauma, but can’t overcome our past because it’s too comfortable?

“I don’t wanna be this way forever
Keep telling myself that I’ll get better
Every time I try I always stop me
Maybe I’m just scared to be happy”

Maybe we just need to find our courage?

“I need to grow, here I could be
Closer to light, closer to me
Don’t have to do this perfectly”

“Have I the courage to change?
Have I the courage to change today?”

It’s no secret that pink is my favorite color and P!nk is my favorite singer and I’m so excited about this newest album.

Every Body Remembers Part 2

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post

The continuation of a Really Real Trauma Post.

This is the reason we had story time.

Back to today.

I’m eating lunch in my college cafeteria.

People in police uniforms start filing in, more than 20, maybe more than 30.

My stomach clenches.  I can’t tell if I want to freeze in place or if I need to get out of there quickly.

See, our school houses a police academy.  Normally when I go in for lunch, they are already there and sitting down.  Normally there aren’t so many.  Normally it doesn’t bother me.

I pack up.  I walk over to throw my trash away.  Two of them are using the microwave next to the trashcan.  I contemplate crossing the entire cafeteria to use the other trash can.

I ask myself why I’m reacting this way.

I don’t think about my own story from so many years ago.

When I’m driving and a cop is behind me, I immediately want to pull of the road.  I immediately start thinking of how I’m supposed to react if they pull me over.  What’s the least likely to get me in more trouble.

Even when I’ve done nothing wrong.

I remember how, literally overnight, 3 year old Kidlet went from wanting to talk to every police officer he saw, to hiding behind me when he saw a cop car and even screaming in terror if one came close.

“How were you so calm when you got pulled over?” I asked Wonder Woman the night she got a ticket.  I was in the passenger seat all but shaking.  It wasn’t until halfway through that I realized I had my hands in my pockets and then I was petrified to take them out.  “What am I supposed to do if they talk to me?”  “How am I supposed to react to keep us both out of trouble?”

Today as the police academy students filed into the cafeteria I immediately started looking for a way to keep myself safe.  I immediately questioned that reaction because I’ve never been hurt by a cop.  I even said to myself “What has a cop ever done to you?”

I don’t think about that part of my story.

It was so long ago.

I’ve been through so much since then.

It barely seems like a blip on the radar.

I was halfway across the campus before I remembered.

“That’s what a cop did to you.”

But my body doesn’t forget.

Not even for a second.

My stomach clenches.

My thoughts spin.

I go into flight or freeze and would never consider fighting.

Trauma is hard.

And, now that I recognize it, I can work on healing it.

 

Every Body Remembers Part 1

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

More specifically, this is a Really Real Trauma Post.

Trigger Warning:  Violence, Police Violence, Mention of Drugs

Story time.  This is long, one of my longest posts in awhile.

When I was around 22, my son’s father and I were dirt poor and facing homelessness.  It was the first time my mental health prevented me from working and he wasn’t able to get or hold a job either.

I found a mental health program that would pay our rent for a year if we could find a place under $400 a month.

We looked and we looked,  not finding a single thing.  The offer was about to run out and we were desperate.  Finally we came across a beat-up, slumlord owned, row home in one of the worst areas of the city.

We moved in.

We put our living room in one of the bedrooms on the second floor because bullets were less likely to come through those windows if shots were fired (and they were, leaving a hole in the car I was borrowing at the time).

We were the only white family for blocks.  I got pulled over regularly and learned to carry not only my licence, but my utility bill and even a copy of my lease.  The only people that looked like us in that neighborhood were driving through buying one of the many types of drugs that were sold from most corners and in front of the abandoned houses.

Our time there wasn’t all horrible.  We made friends with the neighbors, both the ones trying to “clean up the streets” and the ones selling the drugs.  We stayed out of the drama and got to know them all as individuals.  We got to know their stories and why they ended up where they were.  We cried real tears when someone we knew well, who just happened to be in a feud with another dealer, was shot in the head and died.

They also looked out for us.  They knew we stood out and could become easy prey so I was often escorted from my car to my house if I had to park far away.  Once, in a miscommunication between us and roommates, our front door got left wide open while no one was home and someone from the neighborhood watched our place for almost 12 hours.  Of course part of that is the fact that no one wants the cops to show up on “their street.”

But one day the cops did show up.

I had just gotten Kidlet out of the tub.  I can still see where I was standing, with my tiny 3 year old, wrapped in a towel, on my hip.  I heard breaking wood and the front door slam open and “This is the police” and countless footsteps stomp through the house and up the steps towards me.  Guns were drawn and pointed at my face.  At my 3 year old’s face.

At My 3 Year Old’s Face.

After demanding to know What The Fuck was going on, my sons father was cuffed and slammed against the stairs.  I remember seeing him, defeated, sitting on the bottom step.

They brought people I’d never seen before in from out front.  People just passing through?  Someone they thought was involved with whatever they thought was happening at my house?

While sitting on the sofa with my still mostly naked son, strangers from out front cuffed and on the floor around me, cops watching me, they threw random clothes at me and told me to dress him.

I asked for a warrant repeatedly.  Hours? later they produced one.  Something about having to remove the judges name being the reason for the delay.  I’m honestly not sure.

They said they saw us dealing drugs through our front door.  Said they had been watching us for years building a case.   My son’s father said it was because we were white, because we could only look like us, and be in this neighborhood, for drug reasons.  They said they had no idea what race we were.  Those two facts do not go together.

My sons father and I smoked pot at one point.  From what I recall we didn’t have any actual marijuana leaf in the house though, we hadn’t smoked in quite some time.  We couldn’t even keep the lights on.  We weren’t getting high.  They found a box of seeds and stems and some paraphernalia.  They threatened to arrest us for that if we didn’t just sit still and shut up and drop it.

A little while later they took what they found and left.  Broken door still sitting wide open with no way to close it.

We never heard another word.

There’s a point to me telling this story, but this is long enough, I’ll tell the rest in a part two.

Hey, Mom.

This is a Really Real Parenting Post.

We have a totally different relationship now.

It’s 6am texts with “Hey, mom have you heard this song?” while he’s finishing his shift at work and I’m still sleeping.

It’s check in texts from both of us “How’s work going?” “How are you feeling today?”

It’s almost weekly phone calls and the occasional video chats where we catch up on how life is really treating us and discuss serious world topics that make my heart swell with pride when I realize how grown he really is.

It’s both of us talking about our relationships and how happy we are but also talking about problems and getting advice from a different perspective.

I still love those texts where he shares a song with me.  Music speaks to both of us in ways that a lot of people can’t fathom.  One of my favorite trips was shortly after Parker died, a road trip together, to NY, going back and forth sharing the songs that were getting us through the loss.  By the end we were singing each others songs and crying together.

This morning he sent me one of his current songs.  I did what I do and pulled up the video and the lyrics.

By the end of the first chorus I was crying.

That great big ugly cry that felt like it had been pent-up for years (but it hadn’t).

I knew why he sent it to me.

Not to make me cry, of course, but it spoke to me about his childhood, in a loose round about way, without being specific.  Of hard times he and I had, before he left, where we fought non-stop about everything and anything.  It spoke of a mother, me, who wasn’t well and a kid who finally understood that the mother was doing the best she could.

“And though you say the days are happy, why is the power off and I’m fucked up?”

And the thing is, we could both be reading totally different things into these songs. Sometimes we discuss them and realize we are.  I haven’t had a chance to really talk about this one with him.

I love that he trusts me enough to share this stuff with me.  I didn’t have a relationship with my parents where I could have discussed my music with them at his age, or really at any age.  They didn’t get it, and didn’t really want to.

My relationship with Kidlet is different now.

It’s 2,700 miles different.

It’s full-grown man different.

It’s still pretty damn amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.